Donors Forum's Board of Directors adopted in September 2010 a new diversity and inclusion statement as well as a set of principles advocated as part of a campaign called the Diversity in Philanthropy Project. That project has been succeeded by a national, comprehensive action plan called D5. Donors Forum is a founding member of the D5 Leadership Team. While Donors Forum has had a diversity statement since 1991, it had not been updated since 1996.
Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Donors Forum, believing that the wide array of perspectives resulting from diversity and inclusion allows all organizations to be more effective, is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. We are also dedicated to greater diversity and inclusion within our own organization and provide equal opportunity to people of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, gender identifications, abilities, incomes, marital statuses, ages, geographic locations, philosophies, and veteran statuses in all levels of staff and governance.
The following principles and practices originated from the philanthropic sector executives, CEOs, and trustees of the Diversity in Philanthropy Project. They express the unity of our intention while respecting that our approaches may vary.
The principles and practices outlined here are not meant to be prescriptive; rather they represent a collective, affirmative effort to lift our field to a higher standard of operating practice. They can be employed in whole or in part to help philanthropic institutions more effectively achieve their missions.
Our Principles: We seek to encourage all foundation leaders to embrace the following principles intended to promote diversity as a matter of fairness and effectiveness in our profession.
Mutual Respect: Within the parameters of our core values and charter requirements, we are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and we fundamentally value and respect experiences that are different from our own.
Freedom and Flexibility: We promote a broad approach to diversity while respecting each individual foundation's commitment to address those aspects most germane to its mission.
Knowledge and Creativity: By increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, we believe we will access more expansive and varied ideas, information, and perspectives, making us more creative, informed investors.
Strategic Approach: To achieve our aims, we believe it is necessary to be strategic and intentional in formalizing and pursuing meaningful diversity goals as central aspects of our governance and programming.
Transparency: We believe we have a responsibility to society and our sector to achieve our goals with honesty and transparency, regularly reporting progress and lessons learned along the way.
Promising Practices: We seek to advance field effectiveness by encouraging voluntary diversity practices that have shown potential to enhance philanthropic sector performance – including periodic self-assessments of board and staff appointments, grantmaking and contracting that better enable institutional leaders to identify and act on strategic opportunities to increase their inclusivity and public problem solving leadership. Following are exemplary practices we have identified that more and more private grant making institutions are successfully utilizing in these connections:
- Internal Diversity Assessments: Conducting periodic assessments of board and staff appointments, grantmaking, and contracting to help institutional leaders identify priorities, recognize strategic opportunities, and enhance their diversity performance.
- Diversity Plans: Developing and implementing diversity plans to help leaders design specific and concrete steps to expand representation and engagement from diverse communities in their mission and work.
- Field Development and Coordination: Supporting more integrated and coordinated planning, investment, and action to expand the field's overall capacity for change.
- Peer Support: Building peer networks, both formal and informal, to help individuals, their institutions, and the larger field achieve greater diversity.
- Periodic Progress Reporting: Tracking progress, communicating accomplishments, and sharing lessons learned to establish field-wide performance benchmarks and enhanced transparency and public accountability.
- Public Leadership: Exercising visible leadership by encouraging others to join, publicly promoting the benefits of diversity, and identifying new strategies that lead to greater effectiveness.